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Alcogenic

Alcogenic

The first time I read that word my son was fighting for sobriety.  He was early in recovery and I was reading everything I could about addiction.

Ann Dowsett Johnston, author of “Drink,” describes our society as ‘alcogenic,’ meaning a “’drinking culture.”  Because so many Americans drink,  social events revolve around alcohol.  On weekends we hold beer bashes.  Before dinner there are cocktail hours.  At the end of the work day we “meet over drinks.”

So what does one do with a loved one in recovery when drinking is so routine?  In social settings do we say something?  Protect them?  Speak up?

Recently, I was treated to a birthday dinner with my son and his friends, all in recovery.  We’d chosen an upscale Italian restaurant, complete with candles at every table and the clink of cocktail glasses across a crowded room.

I’d dined out many times with Jacob and his friends, so I knew there would be lively conversation about their jobs and the rapid-fire wit of young people in their twenties and thirties.

When the waiter approached, he asked for our drink order.  I almost spoke up.  Catching myself, I watched as these young adults all responded, “Water is fine.”  The waiter nodded and swiftly removed wine glasses from the table.   Was that a look of disappointment on his face?

Later, he tried again.  Did we know it was half-price bottle night?  A vast variety of wines were ours for 50% off.

My son smiled, looked him in the eye and said, “Nah, thanks.  We don’t drink.”

As simple as that.

And a reminder for me: it’s not my place to worry about someone else’s recovery.  I just need to worry about my own.

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